The curtain fell over Southampton’s season as Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men finished their campaign in jubilant style at St Mary’s.
A smartly taken brace from Che Adams and a clinical penalty from Danny Ings was sufficient to seal an impressive victory over Sheffield United.
In doing so, Saints have managed to obtain 18 points from a possible 18 against the newly promoted teams this season. In previous seasons, Southampton have been guilty of wasting opportunities to prevail over clubs recently elevated from the Championship but there has been a noticeable ruthlessness and resolve to Saints since a certain result in October (which shall not be named).
This is not to throw any shade upon their opponents from Sheffield, who have been a breath of fresh air this season. Although Southampton have done the double over the Blades, considerable respect should be reserved for Chris Wilder’s remarkable achievement this season. Wilder admitted in his post-match interview (source: MOTD) that his Sheffield side have looked jaded in recent weeks as injuries have taken their toll, but this should not detract from their considerable accomplishment in finishing in the top half.
It was John Lundstram who put the visitors ahead in the first half, punishing some slack defending from Jannik Vestergaard. For a while, it looked as if Saints would struggle to break through the well organised defensive lines of their opponents, whilst Sheffield United had further opportunities to score only to be denied by an inspired Alex McCarthy.
Resplendent in their new kit, Southampton did eventually find a way through early in the second half. Salvation came in the form of Adams, a striker who has displayed infinite promise but little to show for it in the goalscoring charts. He did well to react quickest for both his goals, before Ings then slotted home a penalty, finishing just one short of Jamie Vardy’s haul in the race for the Golden Boot.
Here are three of the takeaways from the game at St Mary’s: